Essential travel tools for 2015

Essential travel tools for 2015


Greg is a World Explorer, Film-maker & Travel & Technology Serial Entrepreneur has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube videos in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom.

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

Put away the lonely planet and arm yourself with a smartphone. The world is changing quickly especially technology. Technology is making a positive impact on the everyday traveler allowing you a great amount of travel independence. I don’t believe technology is a substitute for asking people questions, but they sure work well together. Being a seasoned traveler here is my 2013 list of essential travel tools

Unlocked smart phone

When I spent $900 Canadian for my iphone 4s I didn’t get to fully enjoy the benefits until I started traveling to countries like Taipei, Hong Kong, China, South Africa, Singapore, and Australia. The unlocked smartphone opens the door to so many benefits to you as a traveler. First, in most countries you can purchase a prepaid sim card at the airport ,which provides you access to a local phone number, sms capability and fast internet access. I refer to fast internet as 3G or higher. As a traveler you now have access to your google maps meaning you have hardly any excuse to get lost. Google maps now has audio GPS capability making your smartphone a functional gps. Plans typically range from $15-30 US for 500MB – 1GB depending on the country and some value for SMS and phone calls. Some other benefits:

  • Local phone calls without worrying about unexpected surprises with a monthly bill.  For most countries you can check the value on your sim in real-time by sending out an SMS message. You can also increase the value if  you run out ( also known as topping up) at convenience stores or a local branch at the mall
  • Smartphone Apps – finding the right app can add so much value to your everyday life and travel too. For example the XE currency app will allow you add numerous apps and convert prices for you on the fly and includes a calculator.

    essential travel tools for 2013
    an unlocked smartphone is an essential tool today
US Cash

this currency is one of the most portable and accepted in the world. If you have an opportunity to get a good rate get as much as you can. I’ve received excellent exchange rates on US in countries like South Africa, Australia, and Singapore that are better than drawing out money through debit.

Laptop/tablet

This depends on your needs. A well stocked ipad with movies, games, and electronic books gives you a portable way to pass your time on those long flights. You can also jot down notes, and use it to surf the web on a larger screen. If you are a travel blogger, serious videographer or photographer, or a professional that can do work using the internet a laptop is an essential tool. If you are taking plenty of photos and videos you can save it your laptop’s hard drive to free up your memory cards. You can take it a step further and bring a portal hard drive or memory stick to back up those memories.

essential travel tools for 2013
a tablet like an ipad is great for portable entertainment on the plane
essential travel tools for 2013
A thermos container can keep your cold water cold or your hot beverage hot.
Thermos Mug

A thermos mug is a container that features special technology that keeps your cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. You can use it keep hot teas when you are cold, cold drinks in hot weather, or use it to store your favorite beverage whatever it may be, If you are traveling in a country that offers free filtered that means you just fill up your container and save yourself some money

essential travel tools for 2013
a portable usb charger can give your smart phone an emergency charge while you’re out
Smart phone portable charger

Think of these as portable batteries that can charge your smartphone if you need to charge it up while on the go. Best of all these devices can be used for most USB devices. If you will be doing driving during your trip I recommend getting a USB charger for the cigarette lighter.

Camera

If you serious about travel you will get an SLR camera with a good versatile lens. The quality of the photos and video gives you access to create and capture memories like never before.  There are modern action camera’s like the go pro 3 that can capture video in the highest resolutions that are slow motion friendly (1080P 60 frames per second).  The camera’s have also begun to feature wifi and a smartphone app. This allows you connect your smartphone to your camera and do things like take a remote picture, and download it your phone and upload it to a social media site in minutes. I can write an entire article on this topic. For now I recommend a camera has high definition video capabilities, supports detachable lens, and getting a tripod.

Hardside luggage

These suitcases are made of a light durable plastic with four wheels. The suitcases are so light and will protect your luggage well. The four wheels will allow you to move the suitcase smoothly while keeping it upright allowing you to put more luggage on top of it. They also offer a pull out handle to easily pull your luggage. With almost all airlines charging by weight this case can provide long term convenience and savings.

WikiVoyage

This website is like Wikipedia for but travel. If you are traveling on the go and need essential travel information like how to get around and what to see and do then do a google search for the city you are in and append wikivoyage to it. For example “Kuala Lumpur Wikivoyage”. I believe travel guides like Lonely planet are useful as reference guides, but when you are on the go I find the wikivoyage to be more practical and useful. Best of all it is free. Check it out here.

Trip Advisor

This user generated content sites has been consistently helpful when traveling to countries like Turks & Caicos, Beijing, Bali, and more. Trip advisor does shine if you know the name of the business or activity for your destination. The value you get is the opinion your form form reading multiple reviews especially recent reviews that are written by travelers. Look at the reviewer’s credentials. Have they written many reviews and how descriptive are their reviews?  Be sure to do your part and contribute to the community by writing your own reviews. I like to read travel guides and the travel wiki to get an overview on the country and area I want to stay. When I zone in more detail that is when I find trip advisor can be another reference to confirm how good a hotel or a tour operator is.

Google Translate

I’ve recently arrived in Taipei, Taiwan to live and learn Mandarin. It is a reminder that we cannot expect people at every destination to speak english. When you have run out of sign language to communicate and don’t want to phone a friend for help you can rely on google translate to come to the rescue.  With support for 72 languages you can download the app and enter in a any word or phrase and have it instantly translated. Better yet you can press a button and have the software read out the word for you so you know how to pronounce and practice it. Just don’t turn up the volume to loud if you are easily embarrassed.

Pleco

This app is essential for looking up words in English or Chinese to find the translation. The most powerful took is the OCR add on to give you the capability to translate Chinese to English!

Airbnb

This app and website is an alternative to hotels that you can hire from local people. You can rent you short-term or longer term from a local apartment to a private room. I lived in Australia for 2 months using Airbnb’s and had a great experience living with locals like a local. Some hosts provide travel guides and even pick you up for the airport providing extras that hotels can’t offer.

Any there any there tools that you can suggest that are must haves for you??

 

Johnny walkers oldest for sale – A rare treasure discovered during my travel’s in South Africa

johnny walker oldest for sale

Johnny-Walkers-oldest for sale

johnny-walkers-oldest for sale
Greg Hung - a modern marco polo for the 3rd millenium

Dear whiskey connoisseur,

Similar to the famous world traveler Marco Polo I am a world explorer and adventurer traveling to new destinations and have done much to introduce Asia to the world. Think of me as the South African Canadian Chinese Marco Polo for the third millennium. My name is Greg and during my second travel adventure I sold almost all my possessions to continue to pursue to passion and dreams of travel and film.

johnny walker oldest for sale

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During my trip to South Africa my grand mother recognized that I enjoyed beverages such as wines and whiskeys and helped her to appraise some bottles that she and my late Grandfather William Hung accumulated throughout the years. My grand father had been known to have many business connections within the South African community and globally and my grandmother shared that it was common to receive these bottles as gifts from diplomats and politicians.

Due to the gift of the Internet I was able to discover that this unopened bottle of Johnny walker’s oldest is the finest of Johnny walker’s premium blue label that has been referred to as a significant piece of whiskey history period. According to the whiskey exchange ” this is one of the first ever bottlings of Johnny Walker Blue Label. These old bottles are not getting extremely rare and difficult to find.” My grandmother has kindly allowed to take ownership of the bottle and bring it to Singapore. I’ve decided to make it available to someone that will appreciate something this special and rare for the right price.

I’ve opened the seal so that I may take pictures of the unique serial number for authenticity for your benefit.

coincidentally the colors of the bottle and packaging are the same imperial blue and gold. I’ve also had some difficultly finding which method to find a buyer so I’m trying through my website.

Please contact ChicVoyage if you are interested in purchasing.

 

 

 

 

The next journey: travel filming adventures in Maui and Honolulu

It is a beautiful day in Bondi Beach Sydney Australia so I have to get out and do some grocery shopping and enjoy the beach. I’m staying at a sandstone surfer dwelling 300m from the beach. I’m still trying to find the right mix of text, pictures, and videos and get these updates out on a timely basis so please comment to provide some feedback on what works best for you.

The second travel adventure – It’s a bit longer this time

travel filming adventures

 This is my second major travel filming adventure. The first was a month in a half trip in Asia December 2011 when I traveled with an SLR camera and filmed a Travelogue adventure entitled ChicVoyage in Asia. I managed to film San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas before I returned to the workforce in April 2012 and during the making of ChicVoyage in Asia I began to feel an attraction for Australia. During the rest of the year I was inspired by my sister and friend Denny’s bold decision to relocate their life from Vancouver to Toronto to think about embarking on a longer term trip where I had a chance to work and live in a different country.

So off I began researching and I came across a working holiday program that Canada offered to individuals. A working holiday program allows individuals a more straightforward approach to obtaining a visa to work and live in another country. These programs help streamline the process for obtaining a visa to work and live if you are under 35 with most requiring you to be 30 and under. I settled on a working holiday to Taiwan and along the way I would make stops in some of the most livable waterfront cities in the world in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

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travel filming adventures
Beautiful Sydney: Enjoy a beer by the Opera house

My first stops from Vancouver would be in the islands of Maui and Oahu in Hawaii.

What is it like being free from the corporate world and how was it spent?

After I informed my manager that I was leaving the company and the message got out I was invited to plenty of lunches and had an awesome send off party. Thanks guys. These types of social gatherings provide positive energy that I’ll bank on for any adversity I may face ahead. The first days of waking up are liberating because you don’t have to wake up to a schedule that you don’t control.  I formed a regular habit of sleeping late at 1-2am and waking up at 9-9:30am. My routine consisted of making myself fresh coffee, selling items on Craigslist , and trip planning.

To prepare for a more mobile lifestyle I traded in my 27 inch iMac for a 15 inch mac book pro for mobile video editing and work.

I now was now free to do work at good wifi spots through out Vancouver Canada. Some of my favorites included Urban Fair at Yaletown Roundhouse and Athletes Village. They offer what I call a hassle free wifi service meaning no passwords or time limits that Blenz Coffee shops do. Other good spots to check out include Giovanni’s Cafe at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, JJ Beans on Burrard (only location with wifi), Edge Cafe, and WholeFoods in West Vancouver. These places offer you good food, nice atmosphere, comfortable seating, washrooms, and free water. In my books definitely a step up from some coffee shops.

However freedom didn’t come without it’s responsibilities. The idea of leaving everything behind to travel and film the world sounds like an attractive idea, but what does it actually take?

For starters I had to purge any possessions that I wouldn’t be traveling with and pack enough to film, travel and relocate my life. Not an easy task. There are things like selling your car and major possessions, getting travel insurance, planning your trip, securing cash flow, and paying your bills. Planning for a trip requires project management skills. There are many logistical things to plan for. Other things I did:

travel filming adventures
sold my car. my baby
travel filming adventures
the sacrifice. Selling my car
  • upgrading my camera equipment and videography skills
  • tried to run my own SLR workshop
  • purging and selling major possessions
  • started a kickstarter campaign
  • had many lunches and dinners with friends
  • extensive planning for my potentially 1 year working holiday
  • a going away potluck party
travel filming adventures
Going away party. One of the best parties I’ve had
travel filming adventures
Going away party. One of the best parties I’ve had

Yes I was busy. Leaving work and the city does have its benefits. I recommend you try it. The trade-off is that it is super sad to leave family, friends, and colleagues.

The first stop Maui – the ocean front condo experience

I decided to make a pit stop on the way to Australia with my parents. The first stop was in Hawaii where I had an awesome stay in Maui at an ocean front condominium.  Words cannot describe the feeling of being at the oceanfront and experience perfect weather enjoyed from the Lanai (patio). Perhaps pictures and videos can. This google map outlines what the main attractions planned were and the red line and black spots track what we managed to visit.

travel filming adventures


View Maui in a larger map

Highlights of the trip and usable itinerary:

You can use the map above along with the information written here as a usable itinerary for yourself. I didn’t get a chance to complete everything I planned to see in Maui. Perhaps you might.

  • Snorkeling at Black Rock Kaanapali Beach looking for turtles.

The Black Rock is known as a popular destination for snorkeling and the Kaanapali beach. We drove in search of the Black Rock and found that there was free parking next to the Sheraton hotel with access to the beach. The beach was not crowded and the water was slightly colder than luke warm water. I took my snorkeling gear in search of turtles. I asked some people in the water for some tips and one person motioned to the area near the black rocks. Will I find a turtle? Watch the video to find out. Please excuse the production value. I’m experimenting with reducing the publishing time and still keeping quality, but it is difficult without some editing help.

Tip: there is free covered parking adjacent to the Sheraton hotel with beach access.

Tip: if you are snorkeling for turtles you will find more sea life near the black rocks

 

 

  • Waking up at 3:30am in the morning for a driving video tour up to the 4th highest point on the planet at the Haleakala Crater to enjoy the view and the sunrise

travel guides will suggest that you wake up and ride your bike up for the sunrise and ride back down. I recommend that you drive up in a car. There is a long stretch of uphill road to get there and although this means fun times going back the road is narrow. I’m proud of my parents for making the effort to wake up, however we just missed the sunrise.  Give yourself plenty of time to get up there. Google the sunrise time and use google map to plan to work backwards to figure out what time you need to leave. Is it worth it to drive up here?  If you enjoy adventure and panoramic views then yes,  but this is not as awe inspiring on the caliber level of a grand canyon. My official Maui travelogue video will feature video footage of the Haleakala.

travel filming adventures
Maui. We woke up early to catch the sunrise at Halakea
travel filming adventures
Maui. We woke up early to catch the sunrise at Halakea
  • Lunch at the town of Lanai where we enjoyed a local beer oceanfront

If you are staying in the Northwest of Maui chances are you will drive past the town of Lanai. I think Lanai is one of the few towns in Maui, and I’ve read it’s a tourist trap. What you will find there are narrow streets and a clusters of restaurants and tourist attractions along the ocean. Yes it is catered to tourists, but I suggest  you still visit. We went there once for lunch at the Kool Kat cafe and the second time for a drink at the Koa’s Seaside Grill. I will vouch for Koa as the beer was good, prices fair, excellent service, and prime time ocean views.

travel filming adventures

  • More on the experience of staying at a private ocean front condo

I found this condo through VRBO and arranged to provide a video of the apartment for a good deal on the accommodation. This non hotel experience worked out very well for myself and my parents. The apartment had kitchen facilities, laundry, pool, ocean front lanai, parking, and wifi. I think that going through the VRBO route ends up being better value and a better experience for a traveling family. Also what are the chances you will score an Ocean front view at a reasonable cost in Maui? If you would information on the place I stayed at please comment below.

  • Costco

I recommend making a stop at Costco if you have rented out a private space with a kitchen for your food and alcohol. You get a great quality and value. The alcohol generally works out to half the price for an equivalent bottle in British Columbia, Canada. If you have a Costco card in Canada it works in the US. Cool!

Tip: If you have an unlocked phone you can get a prepaid Sim card, which is invaluable for navigating the island and doing research. Hertz offered me a GPS device for $60 for 5 days, but a prepaid sim can provide audio navigation with unlimited data and voice for $2 a day with Tmobile.

Tip: if you are looking for recommendations on restaurants and business services use a website or smartphone app called “Yelp”

Honolulu

You will find this part if more brief. I spent much of my time filming condo apartments there.

travel filming adventures

I flew to Honolulu where I arranged for an awesome chic condo at the Ilikai Marina with an awesome view of the marina and the Hilton Lagoon. We took an inter-island flight with Hawaiin airlines and then took a shuttle from the airport. Watch out for some of those sharks that try to get you in their shuttle as soon as they spot the lost look on your face. Shop around first using the shuttle services listed by the phone in the airport. We paid about $22 for round-trip from the airport to our condo.

  • The scene at Waikiki

We stayed at the Ilikai Marina, which is a private condo building which is a 5 minute walk away to the Hilton Lagoon.  The Hilton appears to be the anchor in the Waikiki beach area and you can figure out how central your accommodation is to this hotel. The Modern hotel is in an adjacent building to the Ilikai Marina and features a cool pool and bar/lounge area worth checking out. It is an international crowd, very family and tourist oriented with a large volume of Japanese people as well as young and fit people at the beach.
travel filming adventures

  • A front row scene for the fireworks at the Hilton Lagoon

Our condo owner told us that the Hilton offers fireworks every Friday night, but we were lucky to catch them on a Wednesday night. You can see the fireworks by the lagoon.

  • My experience attempting to surf at Waikiki after a decade.

The beach is very crowded and hot at Waikiki. A suggestion is to bring beach chairs or towels and plenty of sunscreen. Rent your board from across the street from the Hilton for about $20 to save yourself some money. When I was there in May there were not that many surfers in the ocean. The ones that were there are quite far from shore and the waves are not that strong. After expending a lot of energy to get out to the area to surf I found most of my time was spent waiting for the waves. I also forgot to take off my sunglasses, which mean I was being careful not to let the waves knock them off.

Okay I’ve finally made it to the end of this post for now. If you enjoy this updates and would like to keep receiving them I would appreciate that you support our  kickstarter campaign http://kck.st/ZLc6xv. After the campaign is over (42 hours at time of writing) please email me to see how you can help.  I try to produce independent content so it stays clear of any external influences.

travel filming adventures

 

 

Tips for planning and packing for living abroad

Tips for planning and packing for living abroad

By Greg Hung


Greg is a World Explorer, Film-maker & Travel & Technology Serial Entrepreneur has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube videos in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom.

This article applies to:
Travel film-makers
Travelers that want to pack their luggage smarter
Expatriates relocating to another country

Tips for planning and packing for travel
Greg Hung – World explorer, Film-maker, Travel & Technology Entrepreneur

I have been traveling abroad since 2009 where I have enjoyed Europe backpack trips, Hiking adventure trips to Machu Pichu, and upscale Asia adventure trips with camera gear. My experience with these trips have taught me to make better choices.  For my next upcoming trip I will be traveling with plenty of camera gear and my personal luggage that will come along with me to what could be a 1 year working holiday.

How to maximize carrying space at minimal cost

What you will need

  1. measuring tape
  2. travel scale
  3. a smartphone – to calculate volume and convert between pounds and kilograms etc

Step 1 – Read the baggage policy rules of the airlines you will use the most

If you think of this as a game you cannot play smart and effectively if you do not know the rules. The rules depend on which airline you will fly with the most.

How many bags do they allow?

Check the airlines that you will be traveling with the most to figure out what their baggage policies are. I’ll use Allegiant airlines  as an example. At the time of writing they allow you to bring on $35 for the first and second bag.  Hint: you’ll want to bring the second bag since you’re paying for it.

What are the weight and size restrictions?

The bag must be under 40 pounds and under 80 linear inches.

What are linear inches?

Linear inches is a term used to describe the sum of the length, width and depth of your baggage. For example my large suitcase has the following dimensions which works out to 65 linear inches.

32l 22w 11.5d=65 linear inches

Step 2 Picking your luggage

Tips for planning and packing for travel
The mothership

 

This will be my largest suitcase. I call it the mothership. My requirement is to maximize the carrying capacity at the lowest cost. I want to make a smart choice, and to do that I wanted to figure out how to measure the performance of the suitcase (see my calculations below). Other considerations that I think are important to factor in are the weight, warranty and convenience features. Convenience features that I think are useful are telescopic handles, aesthetics, 4 wheels,and a peg to connect a luggage strap to connect to other suitcases to tow it.

How to measure the performance of a suitcase

To calculate the carrying capacity get the dimensions of your suitcase using a measuring tape or refer to the website of the company that made it. To weigh the luggage use a travel scale. My friend Agnes got me one years ago, but I only opened it a couple days ago and I highly recommend it.

The calculations

32l 22w 11.5d=65 linear inches

8096 volume cubic inches (calculated by multiple L X W X D)

weight -11lbs

To measure the performance of the suitcase I wanted to see how much carrying capacity this I’m getting for this luggage for the weight.

The calculation. 8096 cubic inches / 11lb’s

= 736 of cubic inches per pound.

Okay so this suite case meets the requirements of allegiant, but the performance doesn’t  mean anything to me until I compare it to another product.

I compared it with one of the newer suitcases by Hey’s and got the following figure.

Heys Delta large

30 X 21 X 11= 62 linear inches

6930 volume cubic inches

11.6lbs

= 597 of cubic inches per pound.

Okay so this means 139 cubic inches more space per pound with my existing suit case. I like it! Remember to consider other factors that you value like 4 wheels, or if it looks super sleek. We all have different priorities.

Allegiant charges you $35 for 2 checked bags. In this case it would be foolish not to get a second suitcase.

My second checked in luggage

Tips for planning and packing for travel
Storing camera gear and tennis rackets in the the Briggs & Riley

 

Briggs and Riley

L30.5 W 15  H16.5

weight 4.5lbs

volume cubic inches 7548

performance = 1677.6 of cubic inches per pound.

I bought this suitcase to carry a DSLR camera slider. I originally bought a carrying case for my slider and I used it when traveling throughout Asia. I didn’t bring my slider as it weighs under 10 pounds and this case doesn’t have wheels. It hurt my shoulder and the handles eventually broke. Please learn from my lesson. WHEELS on your luggage is a good idea. So this Briggs and Riley piece is a high performer. Yes! I will keep this and it provides a lot of carrying capacity for the weight.

Tips for planning and packing for travel
This DSLR camera slider has to travel with me. You need wheels to travel with this

 

Summary for checked in luggage

Total storage for checked in luggage

8096 + 7548 = 15644 volume cubic inches

combined 15.5 lbs

Allegiant requires that checked bags must be under 40 pounds so I have have 24.5 lbs of allowance for my stuff.

So my two pieces of checked luggage will meet the airports requirements for weight and size. I will try to look for luggage tags to so I can connect and tow them together as I will also have my carry on and unless you get a smart cart I will only have 2 arms to pull carry-ons.

update: I went to the local travel stored called Wanderlust travel in Kitsilano and I got a detachable tag to connect large suitcase to the handle of the Briggs

Some airlines like jetstar do not look for how many pieces of luggage, but care about the total weight of your checked in luggage. For example their starting weight allowance is 20kg, which works out to about 44lb’s.

Keep in mind that these weights are without anything in them so don’t forget to weigh your luggage again and check them against the weight requirements. Pre-purchase additional weight allowance on-line before you arrive at the airport to save from paying more at the airport. Planning does take time, but gets rewarded.

Now for carry-on luggage

Step 1 – Read the rules

this is important as each airline will apply different rules Allegiant allows 1 personal item (purse, backpack or laptop computer) and a carry-on bag.

The carry-on bag requirements

9 in. H x 14 in. W x 22 in. D (22.9 cm x 35.6 cm x 55.9 cm) under 25lbs (per their website but I think they mixed up their depth with their height) (allegiant)

18 in H X 14.17 inches W X 9in. D for combined weight of 7kg or 15.43 lbs (Jetstar)

Step 2 – What to bring on carry-on

I bring the important stuff like my laptop, lens, and camera equipment. You want to keep your valuables on your check in luggage that with you at all times. Sometimes you are vulnerable when you need the restroom, which means it is a good idea to make a friend with your airline passenger or you can bring it with you to the restroom. You also may want to entertain yourself or do some work so bringing a book, tablet or laptop is a good idea.

Tips for planning and packing for travel
The travel scale on my back pack

 

My backpack

I’m choosing a backpack because it has wheels, telescopic handle, and has decent carrying capacity.

21.5H X 13.5W X 12D = 3483 volume cubic inches

weight 10lbs, 4.5 kg

performance 348 volume cubic inches  per pound

I compared this to a hey’s 21 inch carry on suitcase to get a relative comparison.

21 X 15.5 X 9.0= 2929.5 volume cubic inches

7.2lbs

406.87 volume cubic inches per pound

okay it looks like I’m losing 58.9 cubic inches per pound based on the weight, but we are allowed a personal item so what can we do with that?

* Personal Item. The one (1) Personal Item such as a purse, briefcase, laptop computer, small backpack, or small camera must fit completely underneath the seat in front of you, and must not exceed maximum size of:
7 in. H x 15 in. W x 16 in. D (17.8 cm x 38.1 cm x 40.6 cm). They don’t specify the weight so to capitalize on this you may want to put heavy stuff on the personal item. For Jetstar they do not specify the weight, but it must be able to fit underneath my seat.

camera bag

I have a camera bag that I used for my camera gear. I was going to sell it, but it can used around my shoulder and I know it fits underneath the seat. So here are the calculations.

W10 X 11H X 8D in = 880 volume cubic inches

1lb weight

performance = 880 volume cubic inches per pound

This camera bag is an incredible performer!

Tips for planning and packing for travel
3 bags all attached together for easy transport in the airport
Summary for carry-on luggage

With the camera bag and my back page I have a combined of 4363 (28% of my checked luggage) volume cubic inches per pound at a combined weight of 11lbs. This meets the requirements of both airlines

Summary: Combined total carrying capacity and weight

Carrying capacity 4363 + 15644 = 20,000 volume cubic inches

Weight 26.5lbs   20kg 44lbs (check in luggage),   15.5kg (34lbs)  backpack (15.5lbs 8kg)

Performance = 754.7 volume cubic inches per pound

Updated measurements for the curious

I stuffed my suitcases with most of what I will be packing to get a sample weight I’ll need to purchase my weight allowance. Based on the weight with my luggage I may have to reduce the weight on my check in and carry on luggage.

 20kg 44lbs (mothership check in luggage suitcase),   15.5kg 34lbs (2nd checked in suitcase)
Total check in weight 35.5kg or 77lbs
Backpack (15.5lbs 8kg)

Article Summary
Tips for planning and packing for travel
converter + is a great app for converting currencies and weights

Planning and make good choices about your luggage can save you money, maximize your storage capacity, and give your a better traveling experience.

In this article I have have given you tools and a performance framework for figuring out how well how your luggage performs against each other. Here are some key takeaways

* Know the rules of the game – I know it can be intimidating, but read the baggage policy of the airlines you will fly the most
* know what your traveling requirements are – are you going on a short trip, photography or videography, or relocating your life
* Equip yourself with tools – smart phone applications can help convert currencies and weights, travel scales, and measuring tape empower you to make good choices  tip: an app I use for converting currencies, weight, volume for iphone is called converter +
* Luggage performance – I have developed this method of calculating performance of the luggage to use a factual way of determining carrying space per weight
* Don’t forget to weigh your luggage again after packing!
* Purchase the appropriate baggage allowance on-line to save money

Vancouver Kickstarter project for Canadian Expat in Australia launches

Vancouver Kickstarter project for Canadian Expat in Australia launches

Vancouver Kickstarter project
Vancouver Kickstarter project

By Greg Hung and Samantha Zhang


Greg Hung is a World Explorer and a Travel & Technology Serial Entrepreneur. Originally from South Africa, Greg moved to Canada in 1988 and has called Vancouver, BC Canada home since 1995.  He developed a successful IT corporate career and has filled roles such as Network Manager for CORIX and Business Team Lead for Worksafe BC. He developed a strong entrepreneurial drive during the MBA Technology program at Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business, which led to the creation of a series of Internet Travel information & entertainment  related companies under the ChicVoyage Group

Click here for the Kickstarter campaign

The video for the Canadian Expat in Australia Kickstarter campaign

In December 2011, Greg left his managerial job, sold his apartment and traveled to Asia for a month and a half with his SLR camera, filming modern high definition Asia footage during this trip. When he returned to Vancouver in January 2012, a friend introduced him to the Departure’s travel show and the idea of creating a travel show of his own took seed.

He returned to the corporate world in April 2012 for a year. For seven months he worked during evenings and weekends during his free time to produce 30 high definition inspirational travel videos and a modern Asia travelogue called “ChicVoyage in Asia”.  The ChicVoyage in Asia blu-ray is now available on Amazon.com and the digital download of the series can be found on the ChicVoyage Productions website.

The next chapter: Down under

Greg has a strong belief about staying true to yourself and following your heart and passions. For Greg this translated into a strong internal pull to Australia throughout the year and he began to envision a travelogue adventure web series in Australia. The global livability rankings from EIU had listed 4 of the top 10 cities in the world in this region. This solidified the plans for Greg.  He began attending a popular local Internet Marketing meetup called Internet Masterminds.  There he met Samantha Zhang, an American entrepreneur that enjoyed some of the videos.  They agreed to partner on a Kickstarter Project called “The Canadian Expat in OZ” – a series of Cinematic travelogue adventures available in 4 of the most livable waterfront cities in the world (Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, and Adelaide).

Vancouver Kickstarter project
City of Auckland, New Zealand. One of the world's most livable cities. Image courtesy of TheVirtualNetwork.com.au

Unlike the popular Departure’s  travel web series. The Canadian Expat in OZ travel web series will feature attractions, hidden gems, food, local perspectives and some surprises along the way. This is not a backpacker hostel type trip, but instead of staying at hotels Greg plans to use AirBnb almost exclusively for a completely different travel experience. Think of a Sandstone apartment 300m away from the famous Bondi beach or staying with a local couple in the Southbank Arts Precinct in a modern apartment in Melbourne. We can expect storytelling and high cinematic production value.  If we have a successful Kickstarter campaign, Greg is excited about the possibilities of bringing a cinematic style with a strong story to the travel genre.

Our audience is in for a treat as the Canadian Expat in OZ will also be featuring the up and coming Australian city Brisbane and the town of Cairnes, where Greg will be sharing the Great Barrier Reef experience. Have you wondered what it’s like leaving your job, friends, family and home behind to pursue the adventure of traveling in Australia? If you have, but didn’t want to take the risk yourself, here is your opportunity to experience it from the comfort of your home.

There will be some valuable perks such as special backer access updates which will provide an itinerary with maps with the exact co-ordinates of the places visited with a geo-log trail that will display the journey that Greg has traveled within a city.

Vancouver Kickstarter campaign
Vancouver Kickstarter travel film campaign video. At Olympic Village with Greg Hung and Samantha Zhang

Greg says “I’m excited about the adventure and sharing a modern cinematic Travel adventure in Australia and my life.  I’m happy to meet Samantha and can’t believe that this Kickstarter campaign is going to launch soon!” She has provided great input and we have put together some interesting and useful perks for backers of our campaign. Technology has made a lot of this possible. The power to create with cameras, Meetup groups, AirBnb, YouTube, Vimeo, and Kickstarter. We are living in a time of amazing opportunity. I hope that Samantha and I have good timing!

Greg will be setting off for his adventure at the end of April 2013.

How can you help?

The most direct way would be to contribute to our Kickstarter campaign. Other ways you can help are to spread the word using social media by clicking any of the social networks you belong to on the floating bar on the left. Thanks in advance for your support!

Get inspired for the Grand Canyon – Video, pics, geo-map, and itinerary – Chicvoyage Travel

By Greg Hung

Greg Hung Kickstarter
Greg Hung Kickstarter


Greg is a World Explorer, Film-maker & Travel & Technology Serial Entrepreneur has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube videos in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom.

Get inspired for the Grand Canyon – Video, pics, geo-map, and itinerary – Chicvoyage Travel

Day 1

The idea of going to the Grand Canyon came after a scheduled Las Vegas trip. This trip was scheduled for April and I was hopeful that there would be sunny weather. I decided to visit the Grand Canyon Southern Rim to take this amazing attraction off my bucket list. I booked a car rental from Las Vegas airport and proceeded to take the 5-6 hour drive from Las Vegas to Bright Angel Lodge at the Grand Canyon National Park. I had missed my first flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas and so I began this drive around 9pm. There are long stretches of this drive especially during the last hour where it is pitch black. Watch your speed on the highway as there are wild life that cross the roads and they are patrolled by police. I got freaked out when I saw a pair of glowing eyes in the dark that I think came from an elk that I almost knocked over. I actually got pulled over by an officer, and I was fortunate enough to get let off without a ticket for the first time. I arrived inside the park gate around 2am in the morning with the toll gates closed and checked into the Bright Angel Lodge for a night. The staff at the lodge were friendly and I looked forward to some sleep before waking up at 5am for sun rise.

Tip: Rent a GPS device if you are making the drive to the Grand Canyon
Tip: Drive under the posted speed limit for your safety and that of the wild life as well to avoid speeding tickets
Tip: The Bright Angel Lodge is an excellent choice for great value. Book well in advance to get rooms.
Tip: Get a map and guide to the park from your hotel. It will help you plan your visit

Day 2

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon sun rise

I woke up early in the morning for the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. One of the benefits of the Bright Angel lodge is the amazing proximity to the Grand Canyon view. You are literally a minute walk away or less depending on your room from the Grand Canyon views. It was cold in the morning, but I was happy it was dry. It was an amazing sun rise and when I saw my first view of the Canyon I was in awe. I have never seen anything like this and if you watch the Grand Canyon video I believe you will agree this is awe inspiring. I had a good breakfast at the Bright Angel lodge to provide some energy for the day. The plan was to film footage of the main view points along the desert view drive. I was told by the staff at Bright Angle lodge that you will get amazing views of the Canyon at most view points, but the Watch Tower is popular stop.

Grand Canyon
Breath-taking views along the desert view drive

 

My first stop was the Moran point and after a series of stops I finished at the popular Desert View Watchtower stop. I got there late just before sunset and the tower was closed. You can expect a good walk from the parking lot to the Watchtower viewpoint and fresh spring water taps to fill your water. It definitely worth to check the sites along the desert view drive, but not necessary to go all the way to the Watch tower . I spent night two at the Yavapai lodge as there wasn’t room available at Bright Angel. The Yavapai doesn’t offer the prime location that Bright Angel does and expect to pay more, but your rooms are close to the market area.

Tip: Don’t settle for cafeteria food at the Yavapai. There are many options in the park that are a short drive away

Day 3

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Visitor Centre

On day 3 the plan was to do a quick hike. I went to the visitor center where you can park your car and take a bus shuttle to the hiking location. I picked the South Kalibab trail and took a quick hike down. Along the path I bumped into people that were doing mule rides, an interesting experience to try for next time. You can see different views from the hiking trails that descend down that are worth your time if you want some good pictures.

Grand Canyon
Hiking on the South Kalibab trail

Tip: Come well prepared for the hike. Sun glasses, sun screen, water, appropriate hiking shoes are some suggestions.
I recommend watching the Grand Canyon video if you need some inspiration to visit!

Sample Itinerary

Day 1
  • Book car and GPS from Las Vegas Airport
  • Get something to eat at the airport or Las Vegas
  • 5-6 hour drive to the Grand Canyon National park at Southern Rim
  • Check into hotel and settle in
Day 2
  • Take pictures of the Grand Canyon sun-rise by the Bright Angel trail
  • Have a good breakfast at the Bright Angel Lodge
  • Follow the desert view trail for a day of picture taking
  • Photograph the WatchTower before sunrise
Day 3
  • Breakfast at the Market
  • Park at the Visitor Center
  • Get some info on the hiking trails
  • Catch a bus to your hike of choice
  • Do the hike or see it on a mule ride
  • Dinner


View Grand Canyon Southern Rim in a larger map

Travel and Technology: Live Speech translation demo English to Mandarin Chinese is almost here

Next time I'll talk about these topics Could I build a life and friends in Taipei and what adventures did I have ? How did I survive and figure out the basics such as how to eat and find a place to live ? Was Taiwan what I thought it would be?

Language can play a huge factor in shaping the experience you have on your travels. If you can’t speak the primary language it can become a barrier for simple things such as getting directions, ordering food, and more complex things such as having conversations. This was the experience I had traveling to Beijing where almost all the people I came across did not speak much English. I had trouble ordering my lunch (good old pointing didn’t work) and finding eye drops. I decided to check the Internet today to see how technology has evolved to help us conquer these language barriers. It turns out my timing was good.

In November 2012, Microsoft’s Chief Research officer demonstrated technology that translates English to Chinese Mandarin in real-time. Watch the youtube video (start at the 7:30 mark).

You can get more information here

There is another technology in the form of a smart phone application for iphone and Android that has some early potential. I was first introduced to it by a friend who demonstrated the app called “Word Lens”. The application allows you to point your smartphone’s camera at a written Spanish word and instantly convert it to English on your phones display. Very Cool. Unfortunately Chinese is not yet available, but language such as French, Italian, and Spanish are. For more information on Word Len’s I’ve include a link to the application on the Apple store click here. There is a video below with a live demo.

A Christmas experience in Shanghai,Singapore, and Vancouver

We are nearing another holiday season in Vancouver. The pace at office begins to slow down and become more social and relaxed. The Christmas trees and decorations at the office, retail stores, public spaces, and apartments lobbies signal the season has begun. In Vancouver cold weather, rain and sometimes the chance of snow are also part of the experience. You might be doing last minute Christmas shopping, going to parties for your work, going to parties for your friends, or you might be throwing a party of your own. On Christmas day most shops are closed except movie theaters and Chinese restaurants.

It was this time a year ago when I was filming and traveling through Shanghai and Singapore around the holiday season. I had escaped the holiday obligations for gifts with friends and family back in Vancouver. In Shanghai there were Christmas trees and decorations up at the hotels and malls.

Greg Hung in Shanghai
Greg & Jeff in Shanghai, Xin Tian Di

I was fortunate to know my local friend Jeff who invited me to a local party in Shanghai. The entrance would be a respectable gift for a secret Santa and some booze.  I purchased some quality tea from the Shanghai museum. The host of the party lived in a good sized apartment and offered us some beer and food. We looked at some photos on his television and then put on fights from the UFC. Later we would do secret Santa where I won a hot pot set, which I traded in for something I don’t remember. I was lucky to get a ride back to downtown Shanghai from the apartment which was about 30-40 minutes from the person I gave the hot pot set to. So it all worked out and felt very much like a Vancouver Christmas experience.

Jeff's Secret Santa Gift
Jeff's Secret Santa Gift
Tea could be a good secret santa gift
Tea could be a good secret santa gift

I arrived in Singapore several days before Christmas to spend time with my Grandmother, cousin, Aunt, and new nieces. I must admit that there is no replacement for spending the holidays with your family. We had a Christmas tree set up with some gifts already there. A signal that I was running out of time to get gifts for my family in Singapore. I had plenty of time to explore the central areas such as Little India, Orchard Road, and the Marina Bay. Marina bay had lights set up to recognize the season, Little India didn’t have much set up, and the Orchard area had a tree with bright lights. There were huge crowds out to take pictures of the lights and to publicly enjoy the occasion outdoors. My grandmother cooked us a Christmas dinner that we ate at home. After the dinner it was business as usual with the family winding down getting ready for bed. I went out in search of some action by going down to Marina Bay area. I was disappointed to see that it was very quiet, everything was closing early, and it started raining.

Marina Bay Singapore Christmas Day
Marina Bay Singapore Christmas Day
Orchard area Christmas eve, Singapore
Orchard area Christmas eve, Singapore

After spending Christmas in these 3 different cities I see that it is recognized and celebrated similarly. The chance of a white Christmas is most likely to happen in Vancouver, but the usage of lights, christmas trees, the spirit of giving, and time with family and friends are common elements. Wouldn’t it be interesting to a get a glimpse into how it is celebrate in other cities around the world?

 

 

ChicVoyage in Asia is a collection of modern travel adventure documentaries showcasing must-see attractions, food, culture, nightlife, and unique adventures with local friends in popular cities in Asia.

Greg Hung
Greg Hung

Originally invited to participate in his best friend’s wedding in Taiwan Greg took the opportunity to extend the trip and see more of Asia. In December 2011 Greg went on a journey to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guangzhou, Xian, and Taiwan. After a month and a half in Asia he returned to Vancouver determined to produce a collection of 6 entertaining, inspiring, and informative travel adventure films to share Asia with the world.

 

 

Top things Vancouver locals enjoy doing in Summer

I’ve lived in Vancouver since 1995 and have traveled to South Africa, New Zealand, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Mexico, Las Vegas, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Xian, Turks and Caicos, Toronto, San Francisco and so on.

Greg Hung
Greg Hung

I enjoy keeping an active lifestyle, enjoy eating and trying a variety of experiences. With this in mind here are some top things Vancouver locals including myself enjoy doing:

1. Vancouver Seawall – I’ve yet to find a city in my travels that rivals our 22km seawall. The seawall is a paved path set aside for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy amazing natural views that Vancouver has to offer. It begins from Coal harbour wraps around Stanley Park, goes through False Creek, past the Science World, and finishes at Kitsilano Park. To sum it up it is long. My favorite area is along the False Creek and Athletes Village Seawall. At False creek you have separate lanes for walkers and cyclists and an amazing view. You can also catch the Aqua Bus at David Lam and cross the water to Granville Island to visit the market and get something delicious to eat.

Vancouver Seawall
Vancouver Seawall

 

2. Vancouver Asian Food – It is hard to find a friend or colleague in Vancouver that that does not enjoy the great options for food we have in Vancouver. However, I believe that Vancouver locals enjoy an excellent variety of Asian food that from Chinese (Sun Sui Wah) , Shanghai (Shanghai Wonderful, Shanghai River) , Taiwanese (Wang’s Beef Noodles, Huang’s Beef Noodles), Korean, Vietnamese (Au Petit Cafe, Thai Son), Malaysian, Cambodian (Phnom Penh), and East Indian. Other food experiences to try include Dim Sum, the snacks at the Summer night market in Richmond, food courts in Richmond (Richmond Public Market, Aberdeen, YaoHan), or Bubble tea cafes (Pearl Castle, Bubble World). Using Yelp on your smartphone is also a great idea. You can filter for restaurants that are in your location, fit your budget, well reviewed, type of food you want, and includes the contact information. What an awesome app.

In this entertaining and informative video Greg Hung and Catherine film a beginning to end of the Dim sum experience at one of the top Chinese restaurants Sun Sui Wah. Catherine is a locally born Vancouverite and will share some of her favorite dim sum dishes and even an education on tea etiquette.

 

Vancouver Dim Sum
Vancouver Dim Sum with local friend Catherine

3. Vancouver Coffee houses – Walk into a starbucks or a JJ Bean during a weekday or weekend morning and you will see evidence of how popular coffee is with the locals. Vancouver has a strong coffee culture that supports a variety of coffee shops that provide different experiences. Some of my local favorites for the quality and strength of the coffee and ambiance include: Bean Around the World, JJ Bean,  and Cafe Artigiano. There is strong support for Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and even internet friendly coffee shops like Waves, 49th Parallel, and Blenz.

Vancouver Coffee
Vancouver Coffee at Main Street 49th Parallel

4. Beach Volleyball – Vancouver active locals love to organize BBQ’s and beach volleyball games at the beach. You’ve got a beautiful backdrop of the mountains and downtown to enjoy while you play. Popular beaches to play include Kitsilano and Spanish banks beaches. It is free as long as you bring your own volleyball, net, and friends.

Vancouver summer volleyball Spanish Banks
Vancouver summer volleyball Spanish Banks

5. Hiking –  Vancouver locals love to get outdoors especially during the summer. A popular weekend activity to is to organize a hike with some friends and bring your hiking gear (water, appropriate shoes, clothing, lunch) and take pictures. It’s a great way to get some exercise, social time, and adventure. Some popular trails are the Grouse Grind located at Grouse Mountain, but some locals prefer other trails due to its populatiry. Another option is the Stawamus Chief Hike, which rewards you with amazing views at the top of any of their 3 peaks.

 

Here is a video of the Stawamus Hike experience


Our Mission:
Inspire and inform people to travel and discover the world by visiting every inspirational destination.

www.chicvoyagegroup.com

Entrepreneur Greg Hung sold his home and left his job in Vancouver BC, Canada to pursue his dream of building a global company ChicVoyage, dedicated to sharing travel experiences Chic style. In 2011 his journey took him to Montreal, Whistler, Turks and Caicos, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guangzhou, Xian, and Taiwan.